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BBC Data Science Partnership

BBC Research and Development Partnership has a five-year research partnership with eight UK Universities, including Manchester, to unlock the potential of data in the media. The Data Science Research Partnership is at the forefront of machine learning in the media industry, helping create a more personal BBC that can inform, educate and entertain in new ways. The partnership also collaborates with media and technology organisations from across the UK, Europe and internationally on a range of projects. These focuses on the following four areas, all combining anonymised BBC data with cutting-edge algorithms and analytics.

  • Understanding audiences: Use data to better understand what audiences want from the BBC, why they want it, and what impact these programmes or services have on them
  • Understanding content: Explore what machine learning can teach the BBC about its programmes and services, and what it stands to gain from it
  • Curation and personalisation: Create a more personal BBC, designing tools and algorithms to help programme makers with editorial and commissioning decisions
  • Content of the future: Design future audience experiences, based on BBC R&D’s object-based broadcasting concept, and new forms of data journalism.

The aim is to create a body of research, insights and prototypes that can start making a real impact on the BBC and its audiences.

Alongside this is a range of educational opportunities to help the BBC and its staff improve the skills they’ll need in a data-driven future. This includes tailored courses ranging from entry-level to advanced, MSc Data Science apprenticeships, and secondments between the BBC and all the research partners.

Dr Caroline Jay, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, says: “The BBC Data Science Research Partnership offers an unprecedented opportunity to extend the reach of the University’s world leading strengths in data science to Digital Media and the Creative Industries. Initial activities, funded by the University of Manchester Research Institute and BBC R&D, have already led to new cross-Faculty collaborations, and as the Partnership becomes established, there will be many more opportunities for engagement, coordinated via the Data Science Institute.”